Armed Forces (1993) liner notes

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Liner notes


Armed Forces

Elvis Costello

Armed Forces was recorded at Eden Studios, London. The sessions took what we regarded as a very extravagant six weeks. Strangely, the first track to be released came out as a B-side. Credited to "Nick Lowe and his sound," "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding" appeared on the back of Nick's Radar single "American Squirm" for reasons nobody can remember. I do recall that Nick was pictured on the sleeve wearing a pair of my dark hornrims, clutching my Jazzmaster, with the name "Costello" inlaid on the neck. I think it was what you might call a clue.

Later it was added to the Columbia edition of Armed Forces in place of "Sunday's Best" which was deemed to be "Too English." The album was released in February 1979. The single "Oliver's Army" stuck at number two in the British charts, despite selling over 400, 000 copies.

Having completed an extensive Canadian Itinerary and made our first trips to Japan and Australia since finishing the recording we now began our most intensive period of touring, playing something like thirty-eight back-to-back dates in Britain (Our one day off being a trip to Holland for a TV show!), followed by eight weeks of concerts and misadventures in the USA.

Extended Play

My Funny Valentine — First issued on the B-side of "Oliver's Army," it was later coupled with "Peace Love and Understanding" and given away at a Valentines Day concert in Long Beach California.

Tiny Steps — "If this sounds like it belongs on This Year's Model then it was probably for the benefit of the documentary film crew who were climbing up the walls and crawling across the floor in attempt to capture us in an act of recording our "new sound." For reasons I cannot explain we elected to sound as much like our last record as possible. Not without justification they made they made their escape and the film was never completed.

"Tiny Steps" first appeared on a B-side of "Radio Radio."

Clean Money — Originally intended as the opening track of the album and featuring Dave Edmunds (And a rare appearance by the Attractions) on backing vocals. It was later scrapped and only issued as the "B-side" of "Clubland" in late 1980.

Talking In The Dark and Wednesday Week — "Talking in the Dark" was included in most early drafts of the running order for "Emotional Fascism," which was the original title of the album." Both of these songs were issued on a free single which came with the initial Radar release of Armed Forces.

Live At Hollywood High — "Accidents Will Happen," "Alison," "Watching the Detectives" This EP was also issued with the initial Radar release.

— Elvis Costello


Armed Forces liner notes (1993)

Elvis Costello's liner notes for the 1993 Rykodisc/Demon reissue of Armed Forces.


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